Our Raw Diet

The main components of our dogs raw diet are plenty of clean fresh water, raw meaty bones and fresh vegetables. More than 60% of the diet is made up of raw meaty bones from a variety of animals with the most common being chicken frames and lamb bones. A couple of times a week we add organ meat and fish.

Our raw feeding regime is kept as simple and flexible as possible with the dogs fed raw meaty bones in the morning and a meat/vege mix at night.

We do not measure feed amounts for each dog, but determine each dog's daily feed by assessing their condition, activity level, and access to other food (scavenging in the orchard, treats given etc, and adjust their meal size accordingly.

Vegetables and fruit

Many raw feeders consider that vegetables are unnecessary and it is true that dogs can survive quite well without them. However beside the nutritional benefits explained below, there are various other benefits that I have found from feeding veges:

  • the dogs love their veges and fruit!
  • veges are a good filler for dogs who like to eat but need to have their calorie intake restricted
  • a sloppy vege mush is a good way to increase water intake during the hot months
  • veges can have a laxative effect to assist older dogs who may strain excessively to pass hard stools

The vegetables consist primarily of leafy greens but also include root vegetables (except potato) and orange vegetables. Onions should not be fed at all as they are poisonous to dogs.  Raw potato is high in starch that a dog cannot easily digest so should be avoided, particularly any green parts which are poisonous. Vegetables from the nightshade family (capsicums, tomato, eggplants) should be only fed in moderation as they can inflame arthritic conditions. Similarly the cabbage family of vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and brussel sprouts) should not be fed excessively as they can depress the functioning of the thyroid gland. 

Green leafy vegetables provide all the dog's vitamin needs except for B12, thiamin and choline. Vegetables also supply fibre, Omega 3 and various anti aging factors, including anti oxidants. We also throw all kinds of ripe or overripe fruit into our vege mix - apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries, kiwifruit etc, in fact anything that is being sold off cheaply because it is too soft. One fruit that should not be fed is grapes, which can be toxic to dogs.

But for the dog to obtain all these goodies, the vegetables must be completely crushed to allow the nutrients to become available for digestion. I use a juicer and then mix the juice and pulp together after processing. The only thing I don't put through the juicer is bananas as they tend to clog things up - these get mashed with a fork and added to the mix later. The vege mix is then mixed with good quality mince and perhaps some organ meat or fish, as well as whatever supplements are being fed. 

Supplements

We do include supplements in our dog's diet to make up for the absence of foods in our domesticated dogs diet that were freely available to our pet's wild ancestors. Dogs are by nature scavengers and in their wild state eat a huge variety of food, including soil, bark, faeces and stomach contents of other animals, insects, feathers, hooves, berries, vomit, rotten meat and afterbirth from other animals. While many of these foods are repugnant to us, they contain a lot of valuable nutrients. For example animal faeces is an excellent source of first class protein, essential fatty acids, B vitamins, a range of minerals, antioxidants, probiotics and fibre. To replicate these benefits in your dog (presuming you would prefer it did not dine on other animal's droppings!) requires a range of supplements to accompany the basic diet that may include yoghurt, brewers yeast, eggs, and oils.

What we supplement

Not all these supplements are fed every day. Some are quite regularly fed and others just given once or twice a week. You can follow the links below to articles on each type of supplement. The amounts listed below are what I believe are appropriate for a large breed like the Bullmastiff.

Type of supplement

Why we feed it

How much?

Natural sources

Brewers Yeast

Vitamin B Complex group enables energy production for body functions such as growth, nervous system, reproduction immune system, and all organs. Also high in minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, sodium and iron.

Tablespoon per day

animal faeces and prey animal stomach contents, afterbirth, rotten meat

Eggs

Highest quality protein source available and provides a huge range of nutrients

3-5 a week

eggs of wild birds

Yoghurt

Contains probiotics that promote healthy gut flora to aid digestion

A tablespoon or two per day

animal faeces and prey animal stomach contents, afterbirth, rotten meat

Parsley

Natural antibiotic with antioxidant and anti tumour properties. Contains good levels of Vit C, beta carotine and folic acid

Handful a week (juiced)

wild herbs

Fish oil

Omega 3 fatty acids for growth, healthy reproductive systems, and healthy skin

Fish oil - at least 12 1000mg capsules over a week

These fatty acids are also found in brains, eyes, raw eggs, faeces, and digested plant material in the rumen of herbivores

Cod liver oil

Vitamin A - essential for normal vision, proper functioning of the immune system, mucous membranes, skin health and adrenal glands. Vitamin D ensures strong bones by regulating calcium absorption and deposit.

Teaspoon once or twice a week

Vit A = birds eggs, green vegetable matter, Vit D = sunshine, fish,

Apple cider vinegar

Good source of potassium and other compounds that promote healthy organs and blood. Antibacterial and anti-fungal. remineralises the body and helps normalize the blood's alkaline acid balance.

Splash a day (approx a tablespoon or two)

-

Sodium ascorbate

Vitamin C to enable dog to cope with all types of stress and slow the aging process.

Teaspoon a day

fresh organ meat, prey stomach contents, berries, fruit

Vit E

Antioxidant and anti-degeneration vitamin that assists in retarding aging process, treating heart disease, and preventing strokes. Needed to fight free radicals created by oils/fats in a dogs system

1 500IU capsule a day

green plants

Ginger

Promotes good intestinal health and reduces gas. Antioxidant, anti-infamatory and anti tumour properties. Reduces joint swelling and bronchial conjestion

About a knob of ginger a week (juiced)

 

Garlic

Helps stablise blood pressure, boosts immune system, makes dog less attractive to fleas.

Up to a clove a day (juiced)

-

Kelp

Valuable source of a range of minerals, but most notably iodine, essential for thyroid gland function.

Approx tsp a week (liquid form)

vegetable matter may contain it, depending on level of iodine in soil.

Honey

The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities can heal both inside and out. As well as being used topically to heal wounds, honey is excellent for the digestive system.

Tsp to a Tbsp a day

Wild honey

Most of the information about nutrients on this page is sourced from Dr Ian Billinghurst's books

 

"The greatest pleasure of a dog is that may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you,
but he will make a fool of himself too"
- Samuel Butler

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